When one fight ends another one is surely to follow. HB 1016, the suppressor bill, was finally signed into law yesterday. Under the table however within the past couple days, one of only 4 people who didn’t support the bill has introduced new legislation.
Representative Ross Hunter, who amazingly enough is the chair of the Ways and Means committee, has introduced legislation to repeal one of the most beneficial self-defense laws Washington State has. He want’s to repeal RCW 9A.16.110, which allows for reimbursement of legal defense costs when a person is acquitted of a crime on the basis of self-defense.
Why he is attacking this law specifically is unclear, however it most likely pertains to attempting to balance the budget. This however is not how one goes about balancing the budget. One does not throw law abiding citizens who have been wrongly brought before the bar because of an act of self defense to be bankrupted by the state. They were a victim in the crime committed against them or their family and then they are further victimized by overzealous prosecutors who then give bonuses for convictions.
The prosecutor has discretion regarding whether to bring a case before the bar, as such if you want to save the state money, make him responsible for the reimbursement of legal costs. If someone is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the prosecutors office is then responsible for paying the legal fees. Employees in the office are not paid until the reimbursement is settled. If the office is no longer able to prosecute cases so be it. Prosecuting someone for defending themselves, family, or another innocent should seriously hurt. Making the prosecutor liable for the costs would certainly help. This will actually cut costs doubly since prosecutors wont be paying for court fees either in cases that should never appear before the bar.
Please contact the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and make your voice heard. This is completely unacceptable and does nothing more than allow our law abiding citizens to be victimized twice. Once by the criminal and again by the state.
Update: It appears that it may have been already pulled from the agenda for tomorrow. I’m going with trust but verify. I am writing an email to my rep who’s on the committee to verify. I will keep you all posted.
Update 2:I just got an email from Joe Schmick:
The bill has been pulled from the agenda. We will have to wait and see if it indeed stays off the agenda for the remainder of the week.
I have received numerous calls and emails on this topic over the last few days. Not one person has contacted me in support of the bill. I am hearing loud and clear to oppose the bill.
Due to the concern of it appearing on the agenda again, contact your reps if you have not already.